A couple of years ago, I was hoisting my carry-on into the overhead bin and I found myself vacillating between feeling mortified that I was having such a hard time and a little peeved there were no knights in shining armor rushing to help me as I visibly struggled.
It was a moment of reckoning. It was the moment I realized I’d better start doing something to build my upper body strength or I was headed for trouble.
I consider myself active. I exercise 5-6 times/week. I love hot yoga. I love walking, hiking and being outdoors but I’m not a great fan of lifting weights.
Here’s a fact of life. We’re all going to age. But most of us get to CHOOSE how we do that. And it’s our muscle mass that determines our quality of life and longevity more than anything else. Unfortunately, we seem fixated on losing fat, not so much on building muscle and we need to rethink this.
There are basically two ways of preserving and building muscle.
- Through physical movement
- With diet: I’ve written a very informative post on this and invite you to take a read by clicking HERE.
Physical movement keeps us strong, balanced, upright, fast, and agile-all things we need to travel, keep up with the grandkids, keep our minds sharp and keep doing all the things we love to do.
Aside from staying fit in general, certain exercises give us something called “Functional Fitness” which preps us for the everyday things we need to be able to do-like
I personally feel that most of these are taken care of with my yoga but I do have to admit that the lift and pull probably need a little work.Being proactive is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to feeling young as you chronologically age. So I suggest you get started now. And NO matter what kind of shape you’re in, just start. One squat at a time, with assistance, if needed. One 5 minute walk at a time. One arm lift at a time.
It’s consistency that matters, not pushing yourself to the point where you hurt or give up. A regular routine creates habits and habits often persist even when we’re low on energy because we don’t have to think or deliberate when something becomes a habit.
I recommend the international best seller, Feel Better In 5 by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee where he demonstrates how just 5 minutes, 3 times a day can change your life. It’s a great book with all sorts of tips and tools that are easy to incorporate and use to create new habits. It’s wonderfully inspirational as well. You can order it HERE.
Sometimes we need people to help us create new habits and that’s where a workout buddy and/or trainer can help. They give us accountability, experience and can be our advocate, which is always nice! In the OC, I recommend Cyndi Russel with Xcel Sports & Fitness. She has years of experience and knowledge. You can reach her at (714) 328-0116.
(I’m always looking for other wonderful trainers and coaches to add to my referral list, so let me know who you like and use and I’ll add them!)
Here are three exercises that can make a difference in strength pretty quickly.
(straight arm or forearm)
(use a chair or a wall or a walker if needed)
(use the floor, a chair or the wall)
We can’t forget about Flexibility as it’s super important for mobility and preventing injuries, which brings me back to yoga. The Down Dog app is my favorite way to get yoga in when I don’t have time to get to the studio. The app offers many different types and levels of yoga. For my more senior crowd, I recommend starting with the chair and/or restorative yoga.
One more thing to leave you with. I find that knowing your body composition, including muscle mass, % body fat, and visceral fat is a good motivator. It can be a wake-up call for many people. And it’s exciting to track and watch body composition change just by incorporating movement alone.
Whenever I’m feeling resistance to picking up a weight or doing my squats or planks, I just have to remember that moment on the plane when it became very apparent I was not the woman I used to be and was headed to a place I did not want to go.
You’re never too old, too sick or too tired to start improving your quality of life. And it can literally be just lifting one arm up at a time, 2 pushups at a time, walking 5 minutes x 3 times a day, or even deep breathing. It doesn’t take much to start creating a difference. Nike’s famous slogan of Just Do It applies!!!
Schedule a strategy CALL, if you’d like some help getting started.